Our interlocutor today is Dušan Tatalović, an economist and owner of the family business the Tatalović Blackberry Wine Cellar In the following text, Dušan shares the benefits of blackberry wine, tells us about the very origin of the winery, Vršac vineyards, as well as the impact of the Corona virus pandemic on business.
- The Tatalovic Blackberry Wine Cellar had a notable participation during the first Vinofest. Can you tell us a bit more about your business and the wines you produce?
Our story began in 2004 when we started the first blackberry plantation. Based on my grandmother’s story about the “iron wine”, I decided as a fifteen-year-old to make blackberry wine with her help, which helped her solve the problem of anemia in her youth. I waited until I turned 18, established the company Tatalović Cellar, and prepared to offer my blackberry wine to the market. I decided to take this step because of the very positive reactions of people who tasted the wine. Since then, I have been present at all the events organized by the Tourism Organization of Vršac, in order to present my wine to consumers. Quality was our number one priority from the very beginning and we try to raise that ladder from harvest to harvest, and the most important thing for me is that consumers recognize that effort. I am glad that you noticed that the interest was great during all these years, consumer reactions are the most important indicator for me that my wine story is developing in the right direction.
- What is it that distinguishes wines from the Vršac region from others?
When you say Vršac, the first thing people think of is wine. Vršac has excellent natural qualities for growing vines and wine production, quality wines are what make Vršac stand out on the wine map of Serbia. All white grape varieties achieve great results here, but what Vršac is famous for is Muscat Ottonel and you must taste it when visiting Vršac. Of the red varieties, what is specific for Vršac is Frankovka.
Since grapes are synonymous with Vršac, we decided to be a little different and not produce wine from grapes. As the Banat, in addition to viticulture, is also suitable for fruit growing, we decided to exclusively produce fruit wines. In the beginning, it was just blackberry wine, and this year, on the fifteenth anniversary of my winemaking career, I decided it was time to expand the range. That is how Dušan’s Cherry Wine was made this year, in a very limited quantity, to see what the reactions of consumers will be, and from next year it will be in regular production. It will hit the market in a couple of weeks, and we can’t wait to hear consumer reactions.
- Can you briefly point out to the readers the advantages of blackberry wine, especially health wise?
In folk medicine, blackberry wine is best known for its effective action in the fight against anemia, because it contains significant amounts of iron and vitamin C. But in addition to being the most famous for that, numerous researches that have been done show that blackberry wine is rich in vitamins and polyphenols known for their antioxidant effect and beneficial effect on immunity.
- Do you organize tastings and who are your most frequent guests? Do you get foreign tourists?
The wine hall for receiving a larger number of guests is not finished yet, but smaller groups can always stop by the winery, see the wine production process and of course taste the wines from our offer. Almost half of the visitors are foreign tourists who are interested in tasting fruit wines because it is not something that is often encountered.
- How has the pandemic affected your business?
Winemaking has been severely affected by this pandemic. Most of the plans have unfortunately been postponed until the situation stabilizes. Since direct contact with consumers is most important to us, we largely missed events where consumers could taste our wine and we could hear their reactions. The positive thing is that, thanks to the pandemic, we have accelerated our plans to independently deliver our wine directly to consumers. So, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have introduced free home delivery once a week to Belgrade and Novi Sad.
- Why did you decide to move the basement from Vršac to Kupinik?
All orchards are located in Kupinik and from the very beginning it was planned to move the winery to where the orchards are, which happened in 2015. In the case of berries, it is very important to process them as soon as possible after picking, in order to preserve the quality of the fruit itself and get the highest possible quality of wine.
- When you want to rest, which place in Vojvodina do you like to visit the most?
Everywhere in Vojvodina you feel at home, kindness, great food, even better wines and everything beautiful that can be seen, be it natural beauties, fortresses, the old town or picturesque villages. Wherever you go, you will not go wrong, because there is something specific in every area and you should see and try it all. I will take the opportunity to invite people to visit Vršac, because in addition to excellent wines, vineyards and wineries, here I can visit many points of interest for which Vršac is also famous. But also to walk through the Vršac mountains and from the lookout point with a glass of wine to see the city and the endless plain that surrounds it.